Difference in Wedding Costs: From Lavish to Budget

Fashion designer is adjusting the wedding dress.
Eva-Katalin / Getty Images

How much will the average wedding cost in 2022? The answer, according to key findings in Zola’s The First Look Report 2022, depends. Of the couples surveyed, 28% said they are budgeting between $10k to $20k for the big day. As a whole, however, couples are willing to pay anywhere from $5k to over $100k this year. 

Nearly 2.5 million weddings are expected to occur this year in the United States. Some of these couples might stick to a budget while others will go all out on every aspect of the wedding planning process.

GOBankingRates takes a closer look at key wedding expenses, and where couples may choose to either splurge or save on aspects of their wedding day.


There are a few clever ways couples can get around spending a significant amount of money on wedding attire. You can shop for or rent secondhand or pre-owned gowns, some of which may be as inexpensive as $50. Other options for affordable wedding attire include shopping sample sales and starting your dress or suit shopping during off-season times of the year, like during Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

Some couples, however, have a very specific vision of how they would like to dress on their big day and are comfortable going outside their budget for it. According to The First Look Report 2022, 47% of respondents said they would spend more money on their wedding attire. The sky’s the limit for those who do plan to splurge on their wedding look, with couture wedding gowns starting at $40k and up.

Make Your Money Work for You


There are plenty of ways to save and spend when it comes to your wedding floral arrangements. High-end weddings may decide to hire a florist. The florist will assist in arrangements for the wedding party as well as any reception centerpieces or floral arrangements presented during the wedding ceremony. The starting rate for a professional florist is $2,500, although this rate may differ depending on the florist and their going rates.

Couples seeking to save extra money on flowers may choose to DIY their own arrangements. Flowers may be purchased in bulk, like carnations for $80, from a trusted wholesaler. Couples, and even members of the wedding party, can DIY these floral arrangements with the help of YouTube tutorials. Can’t afford bulk flowers? Try dried flowers or silk flowers for a long-lasting bouquet that is easier to work with and won’t spoil.


Key findings from The First Look Report reveal 86% of couples plan to invite more than 100 people to their wedding this year. Inviting more than 100 people to a wedding requires creating and sending out a lot of Save the Dates, formal invitations, RSVPs, envelopes and stamps. A timeline should also be carefully factored in to ensure guests receive the invitation in the mail and have enough time to respond.

Lavish weddings may plan to spare no cost when it comes to wedding invitations. Invitations may be engraved, a process which starts at $2,200 for a set of 100 invitations. Couples may also consider hiring calligraphers for beautiful handwriting. 

Don’t quite have this much money, or time, to set aside on wedding day invitations? Katie Brownstein, wedding expert at Joy, said sending online invitations can shave hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars off wedding budgets. This includes sending online Save the Dates, invitations, eCards and collecting RSVPs digitally. 

Make Your Money Work for You


Venues make up the top three aspects of a wedding couples are most willing to splurge on, according to The First Look Report. Venues rank at 55% while an open bar takes 60% and a photographer, at 73%, is the number one splurge for 2022 weddings.

As with the overall question of how much couples are spending on weddings this year, the answer absolutely depends when it comes to a venue. Some couples will opt for a smaller ceremony in their own backyard or at a courthouse. Others may go all out at a private club for a massive big day bash or even pick a smaller venue which holds sentimental value to them like a botanical garden.

Whichever option you choose, both give engaged couples the opportunity to joyfully celebrate their love for one another in the company of loved ones.

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